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Thousands turn out as IRX 2013 boosts visitor numbers by a quarter

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Thousands flocked to Birmingham’s NEC this week for Internet Retailing’s fast-growing annual expo, IRX 2013.

Organisers said 3,844 people had attended the two-day event. That’s 26% up on the same time last year. Some 58% of those who had pre-registered attended the event, which organizers described as a “phenomenal” conversion rate in an industry with an average 46% conversion rate and where 50% is considered “stellar”.

Event organiser Mark Pigou said: “Despite a tough economy, we have an event that is showing double-digit growth and developing a great following.”

More than 150 suppliers staffed a bustling exhibition space at IRX 2013 where both long-established and innovative new technologies were on show. They ranged from new multichannel payment technology to established payment specialists, from delivery start-ups to some of the biggest logistics companies in the world, while emerging social and mobile technologies and services stood alongside ecommerce platform providers, and many more.

Among the many ecommerce and multichannel retailers scouting the stands was Andrew Halliday of He said: “We’ve found three very interesting companies that we will be looking to work with in the future. We were looking for a solution, and we’ve found one that meets our criteria. I didn’t know the company or the technology existing but it’s ideal for what we were looking for. We wouldn’t normally have found them so I’m happy that I have.”

Mike Hobby, of children’s payment solution PKTMNY, was visiting to research the market. “I particularly want to see what some of the technologies are here, and how they’re dealing with children being online,” he said.

Alongside the event were 12 hands-on workshops covering subjects from rich media and merchandising platforms through to omnichannel success and email strategies. All were fully booked.

Meanwhile, queues formed outside the six conferences that ran over the course of the two days with visitors eager to hear from retailers and other speakers from companies including Marks & Spencer, Debenhams, Asda, Boots and B&Q. And a wide range of businesses, from search specialists to packaging providers, showcased their innovations in presentations in the Innovation TV Studio.

Oban Multilingual’s Joe Doveton was among the speakers in the Innovation studio, while the company also had a stand at the event. He described the show as “very busy,” adding: “The quality of the people through the doors is very high. There’s a lot of senior people. Our particular speciality is international and there seems a lot more interest in it than in previous years. There are lots of people going cross-border and as we know there are plenty of challenges.”

Jack Panayi of CBS Interactive, another TV Studio presenter, was returning for the second year. He said: “It’s a very good opportunity to talk about the new innovations and technologies that we’re bringing to market. We’re copresenting with a great customer of ours – it’s always good to do that. The show gives me the ability to network with other people, colleagues in the industry and also meet partners of ours who are exhibiting here. It’s a great central hub to meet everyone once a year at least.”

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